UNPO Welcomes New Member: Meet Guam!
The XV General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization saw the UNPO welcome five new members. The second new member to be welcomed was the Government of Guam. Guam has joined the UNPO because they feel that Guam still hasn’t resolved its issues with the old colonial order. During her welcome speech, the Speaker of the Guam legislature, Tina Rose Muña Barnes, first thanked UNPO member Washington, D.C. for reaching out to Guam and helping them gain UNPO membership. Like Washington, D.C., Guam is seeking full self-governance and statehood.
It wasn’t until 1950 that the people of Guam were given even partial privileges of American citizenship. Guam lived under the American naval government’s authority and had sent many petitions for them to be given full citizenship. Unfortunately, even today Guamanian people still do not have the full rights of American citizenship, as they are still considered a territory of the US. Deprived of full voting rights and access to healthcare, Guam has sought to achieve democracy for over 122 years, yet their domestic affairs are still subject to the US Congress.
Guam itself has had a turbulent history. In WWII, the island was occupied by Japan and many Guamanians fought in the US military, yet their voices have been forgotten on the mainland US. Indeed, it wasn’t until 2016 that the US federal government recognised the plight of Guamanians during the war by passing the Loyalty Recognition Act, and it wasn’t until 2020 that the first Guamanian survivor of the war received any compensation. In spite of their loyalty to the US as demonstrated by their fighting during the war, the US has neglected its obligations under Chapter 73 of the United Nations Charter to grant self-governance, and Guam’s current political status has hindered it thus far from holding a referendum.
Having exhausted all domestic remedies for self-government, the government of Guam will cooperate with the UNPO to increase cooperation with the United Nations. Although strategic and well informed, Guam can only attend the UN twice a year, and the US often opposes any assertions made by Guam at the UN. With the help of the UNPO, Guam hopes to find a remedy to the injustices of American colonisation.
The UNPO strongly supports the cause of Guam in obtaining self-determination and warmly welcomes the government of Guam to its membership.